A. B Mamman
Land is one of the three major factors of production; capital, labour and land. It is a generally held belief that the use and control of land as a productive asset requires the establishment of a legal and institutional framework for land management. But that framework has exercised very little influence in Nigeria on the way property rights to land have developed over the years.
This is largely due to the strong feelings which the subject of land evokes. The reasons for this are not far fetched. Firstly, the supply of land is virtually fixed; yet it is required to provide security (either productive, investment or both) in such forms as food, shelter as well as a base for the rapid transformation of the Nigerian economy. Secondly, land management in Nigeria comprises a multitude of irregular units in the ownership, use and management by different individuals, corporate bodies and even the state.
The major decisions taken by these groups have implications not only for the other groups but also society at large. Thirdly, land is the focus of much wealth, power and status. Indeed, the current concern in the use of land as a vehicle for investment gain as well as a hedge against inflation under conditions of economic turbulence, points to the centrality of land in present day Nigeria, and more importantly how it is managed.
In considering this topic we shall first discuss the system of land management during the precolonial and colonial periods. These serve as a basis for the discussion of the existing land use management policy the Land Use Act of 1978 which sought to streamline the hitherto various systems of land management in Nigeria. Thereafter, appropriate recommendations are made.